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UN: Gender discrimination costs Asia-Pacific economies tens of billions per year

Discrimination against women hampers progress in alleviating world poverty and costs Asia-Pacific economies tens of billions of dollars a year, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday. “Gender discrimination blocks progress. Equality makes it possible to achieve huge breakthroughs,” Ban told an international meeting for young female leaders during a visit to his native South Korea. Women make…

Zimbabwe president warned of violent youth protests over unemployment

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday warned frustration among jobless youths could spark violent protests as the country prepares to vote on a new constitution, five years after deadly elections. “Youth unemployment and under-employment present one of the biggest challenges facing the nation, which if not addressed, is a potential threat to national…

Spanish wildfires displace thousands

Wildfires forced thousands of people to evacuate in Spain’s Canary Islands as flames ravaged a rare nature reserve, while another blaze killed two on the mainland, authorities said Monday. Engulfing the wooded hillsides in bright flames, the blaze on the island of La Gomera reduced trees and land to black dust and spewed grey smoke,…

Egypt president defends army chief’s firing

Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi has denied trying to marginalize the army after he ordered the retirement of his powerful defense minister, saying he was acting in the interests of the country. However, the Egyptian press on Monday described Morsi’s move as “revolutionary”, with some saying it was aimed at…

Pope’s butler must stand trial for media leaks

Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler and another Vatican employee must stand trial for stealing and leaking confidential papers in the latest scandal to afflict the Catholic Church, a magistrate ruled Monday. Paolo Gabriele, who was arrested in May on suspicion of stealing secret documents from the pope’s office and leaking…

South Korean president pushes Japan to settle grievances

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak said Monday his unprecedented visit to islands claimed by Japan was intended to press Tokyo to settle grievances left over from its colonial rule. The visit on Friday last week to the Seoul-controlled islands in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) infuriated Japan, which recalled…

Report: G20 to tackle rising food prices

The Group of 20 top economies will meet shortly to try and coordinate a response to soaring food prices, driven by drought and rising demand, the Financial Times reported Monday. Over the weekend, US President Barack Obama called on Congress to help farmers struggling with the worst US drought in…

Castro celebrates 86th birthday Monday

Fidel Castro, who led Cuba for a half century and became known worldwide for decades of Cold War-era clashing with the United States, celebrates his 86th birthday Monday far from the limelight. Officially, there are no plans to publicly honor the communist country’s one-time “commander-in-chief,” who tightly orchestrated public life…

Iran quake death toll up to 306 as 16,000 left homeless

Twin earthquakes that devastated rural villages in northwest Iran killed a total of 306 people, most of them women and children, Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi said on Monday, adding that the search for bodies was ongoing. Another 3,037 were injured, of whom 2,011 were given first aid at the…

Olympian exodus begins from London

London’s Heathrow Airport set up a special terminal designed to resemble a city park to cope with the busiest day of the Olympics as around 15,000 athletes, officials and media headed home Monday. Just hours after the closing ceremony the gateway airport for the Games said it was ready to…

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